Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Writer as Bouncer

 Showing up for work as a writer, you face a range of possibilities, which include being stopped at the door by a burly, unfriendly presence who questions your credentials, the bouncer. Of course the bouncer is you, with all your previous memories of the hours of practice, study, and thought involved in causing you to think you could work as a writer.

Never mind that you have found other aspects of work, things you never saw yourself doing under any circumstances, most of all because you had no wish to do anything but write.  Forget entirely the fact that both these other things of work came your way because you were at various times in your life able to finish written pieces, send them out for publication or production/performance.

The thing standing in your way at such moments is that lovely combination of self-status, enthusiasm, and having been sold the literary equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge by that shameless con artist aspect of yourself, your imagination.

Some mornings, you duck under the restraining rope, arrive early, scarcely a sip of coffee down your parched throat, all eager to pick up where you left off. Other mornings, although less sanguine, you are curious to see how well the things you were up to yesterday have held out.

Yet other mornings, you've resolved through degrees of sleep and sleeplessness to bounce the totality of work done on the project to date, certain you had not got its intent in ways that you could live with.

In ideal worlds, worlds you do not write about, you would simply enjoy the last sip of coffee, brush croissant crumbs from your chest, then stride either to your computer or that place where you store your fountain pens, chose a tool, then begin to compose. You do not write about such worlds in full awareness that neither they nor the worlds you write about exist.

At one point in your early years, you could not wait to get to work, the better to describe every notion and idea that ran through your body like a leg cramp. Time has provided you with ways of stopping most of these cramps in their tracks. Time has also provided you with the avuncular advice whispered into your ear that the sort of writing to which you aspire has nothing whatsoever to do with description, everything to do with the evocation of cramps, pangs, temblors,and other mischiefs running through the atmosphere whenever two or more persons gather in the presumptive agenda of purpose.

One individual, whomever she or height be, may well be subject to all these mercurial passions and sea change tides, but one person alone is not enough. There must be more at hand to compound the mischief.

Thus your awareness that you write about mischief, in which you must immerse yourself before you can stride past the Bouncer who sits at your seat before the computer, or who occupies the chair next to the writing surface where your fountain pens await.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


 Whether awake or asleep, you appear as a dithering protagonist on a journey. The journey often has to do with arrival at a particular place to perform a particular task. In either state, wakened or asleep, you are often made aware that you are incapible of performing the designated task. (In one particular dream, your task was to perform the soloist guitar part of Rodrigo's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. 

Nevertheless, there you stood, the orchestra behind you, the conductor before you, nodding your entry cue at you. And so you did. At least, you heard the opening guitar theme. But the entire concept so boggled you that you soon awoke, happy in the sense of "hearing" music you admire, relieved you did not have to perform it.)

Other aspects of the journey involve tracking down--tracing--information or understanding, bringing it from either the wakened or dream state to the contrary state. You bring parents, a sibling, a wife, or friends from the remove of death to the dream state, wherein you interact or watch them at some purposeful movement. 

You visit a thrive of animal friends, thrilled once again to be in their presence, where you experience that remarkable sense of connection, the certainty of you knowing their quirks and moods, of theirs in the bonds of companionship. Every bit as splendid to have a dog napping nearby while you wrote as to be out on some seaside or mountain or even neighborhood jaunt. To have a cat with you in dream state triggers the sense of adventure to come.

Wakened experiences often thrust you into that in-between state where you are writing, arranging words, details, consequences. No telling how and when that state will occur--sometimes in the midst of sleep, wherein situations and invented personages will push the dream visions off stage, insinuate themselves for as many "takes" or scenes as necessary in order to get the overall movementback into play.

You are of an age now where there is scarcely any detail that goes off by itself, a lonely outcast on the playground where others play. And yet perhaps this was always the case, but it has taken you this long to recognize it.